Note: Publication: The Roanoke Times (Virginia) Published: April 15, 1993 Author: Charles Stebbins, Staff Writer Page: S-2 Headline: Sisters Help Solve Picture's Mystery Mildred Sowers of Roanoke County and her sister, Betty Thompson of Bedford County, were surprised when they saw a picture of their late mother on the front page of the Feb. 25 edition of the Neighbors. The picture, published with a story about a history room being established at John M. Oakey & Son funeral home in Salem, showed three women and a man standing behind seven caskets, one bearing the inscription, "Rest in Peace, Hitler." Funeral home staff found the picture while pulling relics out of the attic. The people in the picture were not identified, and that baffled J. Curtis Storey, manager of the funeral home. He also wanted to know why the picture was taken. Sowers and Thompson not only identified their mom, but also provided that bit of information. "The woman on the right shaking the man's hand was my mother, Effie Reynolds," Sowers said. Reynolds, who died Aug. 20, 1976, at age 67, was active in a number of community activities, one of which was collecting scrap metal. "I think the reason for the picture was that Oakey's was donating those metal caskets to the scrap metal drive," Sowers said. Although she wasn't present when the picture was taken, Sowers says she remembers her mother talking about it. Thompson does not remember the picture and had not seen it until it appeared in the newspaper. The sisters also were able to furnish enough information to set off a bit of detective work that has led to the identification of all four people. Sowers and Thompson not only recognized their mother, but also the man and one other woman. "The man was George Wood, who at that time was manager of the funeral home." The woman in a dark hat on the far left was named Carper, but the sisters couldn't recall her first name. They did not know the third woman, who was wearing a white hat. Some funeral home personnel remembered that Carper had been a member of First United Methodist Church in Salem. A call to the church led to Mildred Chapman, who after a bit of research found that the Carper woman's first name was Florence. She was the wife of Robert Carper, who ran Carper's Gift Shop on Main Street. About the same time, Betty Masters, a longtime Salem resident and retired newspaper photographer, was asked about the picture. She remembered seeing the woman in the white hat but couldn't remember her name. It wasn't until she took a took a copy of the picture to her church, Salem Baptist, that a name surfaced. Mary June Thompson identified the third woman as a Loud. Mary Thompson and Masters then remembered that Loud was married to Ed H. Loud, who, worked for the old Farmer's National Bank. Recalling the war efforts, the sisters said their mother also was an air raid warden. Thompson remembers the sirens sounding for drills, and her mother putting on some sort of arm band and rushing out of the family home on Delaware Street in Salem.
Publication: The Roanoke Times (Virginia) Published: November 8, 2002 Page: B2 Headline: Obit - Duke, Homer L. Duke, Homer L., 64, of Salem, passed away on Wednesday, November 6, 2002. He was born in Franklin County, and had been a Salem resident for the last 40 years. He had been employed by the Eaton Corporation for 26 years and retired as a supervisor from Carbone of America in 1993. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence Duke and Grace Duke Plaster; a brother, Curtis Duke; a sister, Dolly Brown Wood; brothers-in-law, Dewey Hartwell and H.C. Lazenby. His surviving family includes his wife of 36 years, Harriett R. Duke; sons, Jeffery Duke and his fiance, Pam Hartless, Barry Duke, Steve Duke and his wife, Tonya; a daughter and son-in-law, Melinda and Timmie Epperly; sixteen grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; stepchildren, Charlie Hammersley and his wife, Diane, Rosie Bland and her husband, Johnny, Debbie Jones and her husband, Junior, Susie Cook and her husband, Earl; sisters, Clarice Hartwell, Lorena Cregger, Virginia Lazenby, Lillian Williamson; sisters-in-law, Mildred Sowers, Betty Thompson, Shelby Duke; special friends, Albert and June Woods; and many nieces, nephews, and other close friends. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2002, at 2 p.m., at the John M. Oakey & Son Salem Funeral Home with the Rev. Harry Miller officiating. The family will receive friends on Friday at the funeral home from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. and following the service on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Salem Volunteer Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 291, Salem, Va. 24153. Arrangements by John M. Oakey & Son Salem Funeral Home (389-5441).
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